Dr Know-it-all


So… I want to share with you something that happened to me on Wednesday. It’s been a few days but I’m still beyond pissed off by it. Or should I say, him.

I had to do a routine physical for my work (complete waste of time). They first did an EKG. Then they took my blood and urine (it’s so much easier for men). A nurse checked my eyes and lungs. And at the end came the best for last. I went to the doctor’s office and set down with a doctor. I didn’t think anything special about him. Seemed ok.

He started chatting about my work and asking me some professional questions. And added a few stories about his not so bright niece (his words). I kept watching the clock. Every second lasted a minute.

He finally asked about my health. And that’s when shit hit the fan. I said it was perfect except for my allergies. He wanted to know what I was allergic to? I replied I have hay fever and that I believe I’m allergic to gluten.

A small smirk crawled on his face as he leaned back. “How did you come to that conclusion?”

I started to list my symptoms. Rashes, indigestion.

Without listening and his expression never wavering, he interrupted. “You know, gluten intolerance is very popular nowadays. It’s fashionable.”

I kept naming my symptoms. Severe headaches, joint pain (couldn’t move my knee), muscle spasms that woke me up at night (I put my palm on my mouth not to scream), itchy skin as soon as I eat anything containing gluten. I told him that has vanished since I’ve stopped ingesting gluten.

It’s not like I wanted this. Or asked for it. I don’t think this is something to wish or be happy about.

“Well, you’ve eliminated gluten but you’ve connected the symptoms and they might not even have anything in common.”

I felt like I needed to defend myself. I felt insulted. And the issue with gluten is something new. I’ve accepted it but it’s not easy. I feel embarrassed saying this, but my eyes got watery. I just felt so hurt and spoken down to. It was a vulnerable situation. “Every single symptom is gone as long as I don’t eat gluten. This weekend I ate only a few potato chips. The bag said contains traces of gluten. And I thought it’s just the factory’s precaution and it’s safe. But I woke up at night because my skin was so itchy and the rash on my neck has, after getting better, now worsened.”

That stupid smirk got wider. “The psyche is a strong thing.”

I kept telling myself to stay calm. I was so angry. Insulted. Anything but calm.

The moronic good doctor continued talking, “Let me tell you a story.” He told me a story how he thought he could identify different beers during his studies. His friends gave him a test and tricked him by giving him the same brand. And yet, he could swear that every beer tasted differently.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? At the moment when he uttered the last sentences my blood was boiling. I felt outraged and I still do (as you might have deducted) that he could actually compare my situation with his college drinking game.

I wanted to scream at him. To defend  myself. But I just shut down. I put a distant and polite expression on my face. “Can we finish, please? I have another obligation.”

The last thing he did before I left was take my blood pressure. Now, it’s usually 105/60 and in that moment it was 130/80. But that could be just the notorious placebo effect. Since I can’t tell what’s right and what’s false.

I’ve never claimed with absolute certainty that I’m allergic to gluten. But I’m a firm believer that you should listen to your body. And I have. Before suspecting gluten, I stopped eating peanuts because I do eat peanut butter and jam for breakfast. And the rash on my neck worsened. My symptoms (that I’ve mentioned) got worse too. I remember feeling defeated and worried. And one night when I couldn’t sleep because my skin was so itchy, I went over the food items I had eaten that day. And wheat stood out. I researched the symptoms and when I found the description of the gluten allergy, I checked out almost every symptom stated.

Not only have the physical signs disappeared but the mental ones have too. Before, I was also feeling melancholic and tired all the time. Since I’ve started avoiding gluten, I feel full of energy and I feel like myself.

I accept the idea of placebo. I do think it’s common. But come on! I understand that I would feel mentally different because I am relieved I have found the answer to my problem. But the disappearance of the physical signs is out of my psyche’s reach. If it were that easy, I would tell the new rash on my neck that it was only a few chips and it should get lost.

Hope you’re all well.


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